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Veteran Gandhian Mathematician P.C.Vaidya passes away

Veteran Gandhian Mathematician P.C.Vaidya passes away
By Japan K Pathak
Ahmedabad, DeshGujarat, 12 March, 2010

Veteran Mathematician and Ex-Vice Chancellor of Gujarat University professor Shri Prahalad Chunnilal Vaidya(P.C.Vaidya) – famous for his Vaidya Metric internationally – passed away today morning. He was in his early 90s. Internationally renown for his several researches and theories in the field of mathematics, and truly Gandhian PC Vaidya was one of the last educationists of Gandhian generation in Gujarat.

When he was a Vice Chancellor of Gujarat University, he used to ride on a bicycle. Till he was healthy, he used to visit Gujarat University’s department that he represented in early days of his career on big black bicycle wearing Gandhi topi. For last several years, Vaidya Saheb was almost limited to his house in Ahmedabad’s Shardanagar area due to poor health.

Einstein’s theory of gravity is described by a set of rather complicated equations which use the mathematics of Riemannian geometry. It is very difficult to solve these equations, and particularly so to find solutions which describe physically interesting solution. But in 1942 Prahalad Chunnilal Vaidya(PC Vaidya) did pioneering work which led to just such a solution. The Vaidya Metric provided a solution to Einstein’s equations which describes the gravitational field of a star which emits a great deal of radiation(search Vaidya Metric in Google and you would be amazed to know what amount of research has been made on the bases of Vaidya Sir’s theory).

Being a freedom fighter, Shri Vaidya joined Ahimsak Vyayam Sangh in 1930s. When Vaidya heard Professor V.V.Narlikar(father of Jayant Narlikar)’s lecture in 1937 in Mumbai, he wrote a postcard requesting that he wanted to work with him. Shri Narlikar replied positively and invited Vaidya to join him. Thus Shri Vaidya went to Banaras with his wife and 6-month-old child. Vaidya then shifted to Mumbai to work with Shri Homi Bhabha at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He then became professor of Mathematics in Vallabh Vidyanagar, then in Visnagar and finally in Ahmedabad. Here he became Vice Chancellor of Gujarat University. Vaidya was instrumental in starting the Gujarat Mathematical Society. He had friendly relation with Shri Vikram Sarabhai in 1960s. A meeting with Sarabhai led to formation of the Vikram Sarabhai Community Science Centre in Ahmedabad where first mathematical laboratory was set up. Shri Vaidya always believed that if could be difficult to teach mathematics but it is certainly not difficult to learn mathematics. He believed that mathematics is something that is in our culture.

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  1. Bhavik says:

    Sorry to hear this. Living near his residence, I remember a tall 80+ Gandhian riding a bicycle on roads. May his soul rest in peace.

  2. Hari says:

    Dear JP,
    Thanks for giving more news like these. We need to urge Gujarat Government to name a university after him, and build a mathematics center of excellence (on the lines of Tata Institude of Fundamental research) in Gujarat under his name. His life was a great success. I offer my shraddhanjali for his soul.
    Jaya Shree Raam!

  3. vikram says:

    yes i agree we need a University in his name……rather only Rajiv gandhi everywhere!! i was shocked to read even bridge repair programme is in Rajiv gandhi name!! shame for our country

  4. KENT says:

    May his soul rest in peace….
    yes, we should have good educational institute after his name…. Let all students know about him. Otherwise after so many years, people wonder who this person was ….
    Like one student in gujarat I asked about “SHIVAJI”.. He had no idea who I was talking about….
    Thanks Japanbhai for news like this….

  5. kk says:


  6. Memorial for Shri Prahalad Chunnilal Vaidya. Express your feelings


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  7. He was a great man and made India proud. Today in my general relativity class, my professor lectured about Vaidya metric and told how important was that in the development of black hole physics. By the way I am at Baylor University, USA researching on gravitation and cosmology.

  8. Sharad Shah says:

    Prahladbhai lived in Khar for several years. He was a Kovid in Hindustani and used to teach it at Laxminagar Hall. Several of us passed Prarambhik and Pravesh after studying from him. He was also an excellent athelete. During the war years we had a demonstration of how to get out of a house on fire. In the demonstration one exercise was in which they threw my sister then about 10 years old from second floor of a building in a blanket held by a few people at the foot of the building. He himself jumped into the same blanket from the same height. I have seen him giving a demo in self defence against about ten people with lathis in Malad on the last day of the camp organised by Sardar Prithvisingh and his Ahinsak Vyayam Pracharak Sangh. His brother Madhusudan Vaidya continued to live in Khar and was Principal of Pupils Own School and Sharada Mandir in Khar.

  9. Anonymous says:

    i share some common bonds with the great human being named dr. p.c vaidya.he was born in shapur because of his family circumstance and i was born in shapur near junagadh because my family roots there.besides i have done M.Sc in mathematics under him.we were only 3 students in applied mathematics in m.sc part 2in 1969.i will cherish these memories for the rest of my life.may he rest in eternal peace.

  10. Manish Vasoya says:

    He was one of the great Indian mathematican and physicst and specially well know by his work on Gravitational Field theory. May his soul rest in peace…

    Yes I am also agree on idea for making the Institute on Mathematical science on his name in Gujarat. And for same I think, It may be possible to renamed the PRL (Physical Research Laboratoy) by Prof. Vaidya. Because to make new and new Institutes and Universities is not good idea as far Quality of Academic and Research concern.


    PhD scholar University of Paris.

  11. LAKSH says:


  12. Bharat Adur says:

    Prof. P.C.Vaidya was wonderful mathematics teacher and simple person. I have always been fascinated on his Vaidya Metrics..
    That era is over, now we have to leave only past glory. My salaam to Great teacher.

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